Today in History – February 7, 1984 – The first untethered spacewalks were made by Space Shuttle Challenger astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart. Each used a manned maneuvering unit (MMU) in an orbit 150 nautical miles above the Earth. McCandless was the first to leave the cargo bay untethered in space. They were both charged with checking out the equipment by maneuvering within the cargo bay, then flying away and returning. Data were collected to test and demonstrate the capabilities of the MMU flights with the goal of eventually using it for a planned retrieval of the Solar Max satellite on a later shuttle mission.
For more information, see the Engineering Pathway‘s resources on spacewalks and space exploration. For related educational resources, visit the Aerospace Engineering Education Community site. The Engineering Pathway also hosts Engineering Education communities in all ABET-accredited disciplines.
Also on this date in 1863, the Law of Octaves was used as the basis for the Periodic Table and the in 1935 the first Monopoly game was marketed. Don’t laugh, educational games can be an engaging and effective form of learning in engineering.